1. The Federation of German Wholesale, Foreign Trade and Services (BGA) and its members – shaping the future
Growth rates in wholesale and success in foreign trade are what essentially determines Germany’s prosperity. These sectors need a strong voice in Berlin, so it is not a coincidence that more and more B2B service providers are organized in the BGA. They reflect an increasingly specialized economy based on a division of labor. The BGA is where the employers‘ and trade associations join forces – irrespective of whether they trade in goods or services. This is why we attract great attention in politics and the media.
We are speaking for an industry with more than 150,000 German companies in wholesale, foreign trade and B2B services and represent their interests locally and in Berlin, but also in Brussels and all over the world. Our members are 23 regional associations from all over Germany, apart from 45 federal associations, among them the associations of the central wholesale sectors, for example automotive parts, chemical and pharmaceutical wholesale and technical products. The same holds true for the area of services, for example in the human resources and financial sectors.
The positioning of the Federation is based on the participation of its members in expert committees. The regional associations are also points of contact at a local level: They offer valuable service for the everyday work of medium-sized businesses, from consulting to the promotion of trades, the provision of fact sheets and forms, and the representation in labor and social welfare court proceedings.
2. Lobby in Berlin – action on behalf of our members
Since 1950, the volume of the Federal Law Gazette has more than doubled. In 2018, there were 1,715 laws in Germany with 47,849 individual provisions, and 2,714 regulations with 39,824 individual provisions. They are complemented by state laws in the 16 federal states, and by EU regulations.
Even though of course not all of these laws are related to the economy, the figures mentioned above underline the increasing degree of state intervention and regulatory activity. In consequence, bureaucracy and the resulting burdens for companies are growing as well. A strong interest group must react to this situation and exert influence. For this purpose, we are in constant exchange of information with the German parliament, the government, public authorities and other institutions and organizations.
The BGA provides advice and exerts influence
The BGA represents the interests of its members towards policy-makers without any company-specific bias. We provide advice to ministries and members of the German Bundestag, as there is no other organization with more real-life experience. This is why we are popular interlocutors when it comes to introducing new laws and implementing them through administrative regulations, and we take action long before the respective parliamentary procedures. We don’t miss out on anything thanks to our meticulous monitoring.
Both on our own and together with other umbrella organizations, we promote the concerns of our member associations at a federal level. The BGA is regularly invited to consultations in the context of legislative initiatives at a national level, having the opportunity to participate in the elaboration of laws at an early stage.
Our sector experts know the details: From import regulations for sausage products to the certification of automotive components – they know the answers to any question from any relevant field, offer regular technical information and are involved in the drafting of legislation.
Current legislative procedures, tax legislation, environmental regulations – you name it: The BGA and its expert network are competent consultants in all relevant areas. We answer all of your questions on the phone, per email or in one-on-one conversations, always using the expertise of our expert committees and member associations.
3. We provide figures, data and facts of our stage of the economic process
The specialist departments of the BGA deal with the important issues of our stage of the economic process. They include a wide range of topics such as labor & social issues, foreign trade financing, promotion of foreign trade, development cooperation and digitalization, European policies, trade and customs policies, transport & logistics, and the environment.
We conduct economic climate surveys and analyses of the financing requirements of companies to provide up-to-date status descriptions, mood barometers and forecasts.
The BGA provides competent and reliable information in a weekly newsletter reporting about all relevant draft laws and political initiatives that are in the pipeline. We also inform our members via circular letters and position papers and supply them with important economic figures, statistics and analyses which later result in essential and practical studies. During the Corona pandemic, we have been informing our members about the political initiatives we were involved in, and about important legislative changes, financial support, and other relevant facts.
Network and platform for an exchange of opinions
In numerous committees and working groups, we draw up common positions of our sector which are then implemented in position papers, statements and political initiatives. In these committees, whose work is based on intensive dialogue, the Federation maintains a constant exchange of opinions and ideas. This is where our members can contribute their experience and have the opportunity to meet representatives from politics and administration and from other associations. Companies which are not members of any association do usually not have the opportunity to participate in such dialogues. Our events are characterized by a strong media presence and attract great attention among political stakeholders. Among the participants are important figures from politics, diplomacy and administration.